Bickland Hill homes plan 'speculative and opportunistic'

PLANS to build up to 300 homes on land off Bickland Hill have been described as “speculative and opportunistic” and are being opposed by councillors in both Falmouth and Budock.

Persimmon Homes (SW) and Taylor Wimpey are behind an outline planning application for the development at Lower Kergilliack Farm which will also see a local centre built, a public open space created as well as a footpath and cycle links. The plans went before Falmouth Town Council’s planning committee on Monday night when members agreed to recommend them for refusal.

Councillors heard from John Bastin, chairman of Budock Parish Council, who said that although his council has yet to officially debate the proposals, members have discussed them informally and drawn up a list of objections. “There is no proven need for these numbers of houses, certainly for any existing local Falmouth and Budock people,” he said. “The figures just don’t add up.

“This land is a vital Greenfield buffer with high amenity value for both local communities and recognised as such by the Secretary of State in an earlier planning decision. The retention of this green belt acts as a block to prevent further urban sprawl from Falmouth.”

Committee chairman, Councillor Diana Merrett, said: “The Local Development Framework has not been confirmed by any council yet. At the moment this is speculative and opportunistic.”

Members were told that about 30 per cent of the proposed houses are expected to be affordable, but this was not enough for councillors.

Councillor Alan Jewell added: “These houses will be bought up by rich people and local families will never get hold of them. I think it is ridiculous.”

The planning committee recommended refusal on the grounds of loss of agricultural land, highways and access concerns, loss of the green buffer zone, the detrimental effect it would have on the ecology of the site and the fact the Local Development Framework has yet to be adopted. It will be discussed by Budock Parish Council on January 28.

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